Apparently Spin once dubbed God Lives Underwater “one of the most underrated bands in the history of rock.” It’s easy not to take Spin seriously, but this quote really had me confused — everything seems to indicate that these guys get exactly what they deserve. The single that got them recognition, 1998’s “From Your Mouth,” turned the band into a one-hit wonder. Surely, an underrated band would be getting the shaft if their hit was just one of many great songs, but “From Your Mouth” was the only God Lives Underwater track worthy of success.
Up off the Floor continues the trend of the band’s too-appropriate comeuppance. Apparently completed in 2000, the album was left in limbo after the band’s label and is only seeing release four years later. Tragic though this may be, the public wouldn’t be missing anything if Up off the Floor never hit the shelves. The band’s fans knew about these songs back when they were originally put together and could probably care less about an official release. As for those who aren’t fans of the band, well, there’s a good reason for that.
God Lives Underwater has a very specific niche carved out, and that it’s an incredibly cramped niche sheds some light on the fact that the band doesn’t really exist anymore. With their vaguely alt-rock, vaguely industrial, vaguely electronic sound, the band’s appeal is not all that widespread. But fans of dinky alt-metal bands like Audioslave and Hoobastank could easily stomach — and be wise to pay attention to — Up off the Floor. God Lives Underwater’s advantage over their more radio-friendly peers is that they aren’t singing to pre-teens: This album, though not too innovative musically, revolves around lyrical conflicts derived from one band member’s successful marriage and another’s not-so-successful attempt to shake addiction. Last time I checked, Hoobastank was still singing about high school relationships.
It’s a shame the creation of Up off the Floor destroyed the band that spawned it, but it’s not a shame that we won’t be hearing from God Lives Underwater again. Sure, they have their lyrical merit at times, and maybe, just maybe, they could bring a tinge of maturity to mainstream rock. But as long as Audioslave is still making music, it’s entirely possible that mainstream rock can’t be saved. God Lives Underwater is just beating a loud, bland horse.